Golf Course Management

MAR 2017

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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Page 21 of 125

How so, you ask? It happens in an instant after putting on the VR headset, called Oculus, which immerses the viewer in a 3D exploration of a golf course. You feel as though you are present thanks to animation that features panoramic views, sharp col - ors and explicit details — such as a wandering alligator — that take you there from anywhere. "We want people to experience how it is to be there without being there," says Kalinka, whose client list includes Ernie Els Design and Pacific Links. Letot was wowed by it. "It was like a video game, but even better," he said. "It seemed like there was an ocean breeze, and I expected to feel that breeze. If I took a step, I could feel the grass around my feet. I thought it was awesome." Industry veteran John LaFoy, a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, sees benefit in what Harris Kalinka does. "My clients have always wanted renderings. Being able to see things helps sell. It certainly has a place," LaFoy said. Meanwhile, The Toro Co. drew a crowd at its booth in Orlando for its Project Delta experience. The prototype of a piece of equip - ment that is part tractor, part heavy-duty utility vehicle is not set for launch until 2018. Toro offered attendees an opportunity to hop on the yet-to-be-named turf maintenance machine — the company teased the machine by telling superintendents "We know what it does; we just don't know what to call it" — put on a headset, and take it for a spin in VR form. "We shot the video in Palm Springs and set it (the machine) up with a bunch of attachments. You really feel like you're there. It's pretty odd," said Toro associate product marketing manager Noah Wahl, noting that Project Delta has been nearly a year in the making, and that people can enter a contest to name the product ( ). "We were thinking about what we could do to get people to feel it — create a buzz. It's been a hit. We've got a portable charger with it — we needed it." Another form of technology that has invaded the golf industry was cemented recently when John Deere Golf partnered with OnGolf to introduce OnLink, which offers golf courses an entire cloud-based golf course manage - ment platform to collect data and manage equipment, labor, water, chemicals, etc., all on a hand-held device. "I never would have guessed two years ago that John Deere would see the value of what I do," said Walt Norley, founder and CEO of OnGolf, who spent a lot of his time at the John Deere booth in Orlando. "The Deere partnership is validation. Their customer base said they want solutions — something more than just equipment. They want infor - mation that helps them with time and money. The industry has a lot of millennials, Gen X people, a lot of young people in leadership positions. This is a working mobile office. The time for this is now." For more on the latest and greatest products unveiled to the golf course management industry at the Golf Indus - try Show in Orlando, check out the April issue of GCM. — Howard Richman, GCM associate editor Norman receives service award David Norman, former executive director of the Vir- ginia State Golf Association (VSGA), is the recipient of the 2017 VSGA Service to Golf Award. Norman currently serves as the executive director of the Virginia GCSA, and has also served as chapter execu - tive for the Mid-Atlantic Association of GCS. In addition to his role with the Virginia GCSA, he continues to serve golf through a similar role with the Virginia Golf Course Owners Association. During his time leading the VSGA, the asso - ciation adopted multiple initiatives, including a scholarship program. ACT ON COURSE OF 20 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 03.17 Ever since he was a kid, Michael Frantzen has been a take-action kind of guy. He was only 5 when his father, Glen Frantzen, a defensive tackle for the University of Texas' unbeaten national champions in 1969, placed him in his lap on the seat of a Massey Ferguson tractor. "He put the tractor in low gear, jumped off, then said, 'Don't hit any - thing.' The wheel was bigger than my arms as I tried to reach around it. I gripped as hard as I could. I just had to sit there and figure it out," Michael says. Boy of action, meet man of action. If there ever were a real-life action figure, Frantzen may very well qualify. He graduated cum laude in agronomy from Texas A&M University, completed a master's in hospitality from eCornell, an online subsidiary of the Ivy League institu - tion, and earned golf club fitter certification through Golfsmith, a well-known golf specialty retailer. "I always thought that learning a little bit about everything was good," Frantzen says of his desire to be well-rounded in his profession. "This is a hospitality industry, really. It's still customer ser - vice at the end of the day." The learning curve nowadays for Frant - zen, a six-year GCSAA member, features the task of prepping for professional golf action. The Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by Nacher is a Tour event sched - uled March 23-26 at Le Triomphe Golf and Country Club in Broussard. The course, with its large, fast greens and challenging rough, is certainly familiar to Frantzen. At 11, he ac - companied his parents to Louisiana to visit their friend, John Joy, who gave Frantzen golf lessons at Le Triomphe. "Coming here used to be my treat as a kid," says Frantzen, 29, who was born in Ecuador, arrived at Le Triomphe to be an assistant in 2013, and was promoted to superintendent the same year. "I remember when I was 17 and hit a ball so well on the 15th, which is a tough par 4. John steps up and blistered his drive 30 yards past me. The old man could still outdrive me." Still, it isn't easy to find anybody who has more drive to be as versatile as Frantzen. He says becoming a PGA club professional or a club general manager remain on his to-do list. Who would bet against him? — H.R. The Toro Co. tapped virtual reality technology to allow superintendents to "demo" its Project Delta prototype vehicle during the Golf Industry Show in Orlando. Photo by Scott Hollister

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